You buy all of your soaps from the weathered looking old man at the local farmer’s market. He says they are organic, handcrafted by him personally, and of the highest quality. Scented with essential oils, the soaps are made with the traditional base of lye and animal fat. It’s all so natural and classic—this appeals to your fondness for tradition and simplicity.
Your aged acquaintance is happy to tell you that he has an Etsy store as well, for the days you just can’t get out to the market but want to stock up on his products. How cute! The man is very amicable, although a bit unnervingly eager of temperament and oddly sunken in the eyes. His hands are quite shaky, speech a little slurred. Most likely he has Parkinson’s or some other degenerative disease, you assume. Poor guy. He must receive help in his tasks from a younger relative or friend. There is a woman about the right age to be his daughter who mans the seller’s booth with him. Her hands are pretty shaky too.
When you get home from your recent market visit, you decide to do some casual research while resting against your kitchen counter. It’s dinnertime and the dish in the oven still has to cook a bit longer, so you’re restless.
“How do you make lye?” You google.
The search results tell you of methods that involve boiling ashes in water. Still in a curious mood, you open your Etsy app and search the old man’s business name. A listing of various familiar soaps comes up under his shop. You click “Shop Info.”
Without warning, your housemate steps into the kitchen and over-excitedly tries to remove the dish from the oven. One of the potholders slips and they burn their finger. As they exclaim in pain, the scent of burning flesh wafts to your nostrils. It feels so strangely familiar, sinking deep into your pores. Your hunger increases.
Eyes quickly flitting downwards back to your screen, you read through the “Shop Info.”
A wild and nervous beating echoes in your chest as you read that the aged soapmaker has outlined his main employment as being in the family business of graveyard caretaking.